Systematic literature review of primary and secondary cervical cancer prevention programs in South America

Gomes et al.


To identify the 2022 recommendations made by ministries of health in the 13 countries and areas of South America for human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination and cervical cancer screening.


A systematic review of scientific literature and official documents was conducted between July 7 and October 17, 2022. The review included an initial search on official websites (e.g. ministries of health, national cancer institutes and health departments) of South American countries to identify current guidelines or recommendations for HPV vaccination and cervical cancer screening.


Recommendations for HPV vaccination were found for 11 countries, with the exceptions of French Guiana and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Recommendations were found for cervical cancer screening in official documents from 11 countries, with the exceptions of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, where one article was found that was not an official recommendation, and Suriname, for which no documents were found on websites or in other publications. A total of 12 countries use cytology to screen for cervical cancer. Four countries (Bolivia [Plurinational State of], Colombia, Guyana and Peru) use visual inspection with acetic acid and the screen-and-treat strategy. Six countries (Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay and Peru) are transitioning from cytology to HPV testing.


No documents were found about a national HPV vaccination program in French Guiana and Venezuela, and no official guidelines for cervical cancer screening were found for Suriname and Venezuela; thus, it will be difficult to eliminate this public health problem in these countries. Countries in South America must update their guidelines for HPV vaccination and cervical cancer screening as new evidence emerges. Official websites with information about HPV vaccination and cervical cancer screening are important sources that can be accessed by health professionals and the population.

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